FINSBURY PARK

The first Islington Faces meet up was held in Finsbury Park at Blighty Cafe. (c) islington faces/feb2016

The first Islington Faces meet up was held in Finsbury Park at Blighty Cafe. (c) islington faces/feb2016

Finsbury Park is an amazing part of Islington, just on the border of Hackney and Haringey. The tube and train station are travel hotspots for Londoners but it’s also got the Arsenal shop, the fantastic Park Theatre (read about theatre dog Hazel here), two busy mosques, St Thomas’ Church (see interviews with the vicar Stephen Coles here) and the UKCG church, plus a host of coffee shops, cafes, restaurants and independent shops along Blackstock Road and Stroud Green Road. Don’t miss the amazing fashion bargains on Fontwell Road either.

Q: Why’s there a lifesize model of an Aberdeen Angus bull opposite the Park Theatre? Find out in this interview with Chris Godfrey.

NIcolette Jones

Nicolette Jones who runs the Neighbours Newsletter for the Blackstock Triangle and wrote a book about Samuel Plimsoll, who has a street named after him in N4. Now she’s trying to re-establish Samuel Plimsoll’s day (10 February).

People

History – music, mayhem and dogged research

  • Jackie Badger was just a teenager when she saw The Beatles play live at the Astoria (later The Rainbow Theatre and now the UKCG church on the corner of Seven Sisters Road).
  • When Michael Hayle moved into N4 he was determined to find out the names of all the poeple who’d ever lived in his house. He found out so much locals call him the house detective.
  • There’s even a historical re-enactor based nearby, see Hez Jamil.
  • Find out about the Campbell Bunk – a street allegedly so bad it was demolished – as recorded by London historian Jerry White.
  • There’s lots of research about the men and women who worshipped at St Thomas’ Church, N4 but died as a result of World War 1 from Malcolm Marjoram, family history expert.
Lara's Cafe, 16 Blackstock Road, N4. See www.larascaffetteria.com

Lara’s Cafe, 16 Blackstock Road, N4. See www.larascaffetteria.com

Shopping gems

  • Ozzie’s shop, Arsenal Food & Wine on the corner of Blackstock and Ambler Roads is a local favourite. Here’s one of Ozzie’s colleagues, Suleyman Bulbul talking about his life and work.
  • Mix is the best DIY shop, here’s the lady who runs it Mrs Sau Li
  • Double glazed windows can be ordered on Blackstock Road and are Small Restorations boss Cass Farrell’s speciality.
  • Try the vet, where animal nurse Sharon Hayes works.
  • Need dry cleaning or a tailor, use Minerva’s shop on Fonthill Road.

Entertainment

Chris Evans is building an Anderson Air Raid Shelter in the Blighty garden.

The Anderson Air Raid Shelter being built in Blighty Cafe garden.

  • Blighty Cafe, run by Chris Evans, is a fab cafe with a big garden which even boasts an air raid shelter. Events include book groups, knitting circles, art classes and a regular pop up Death Cafe run by Caroline Dent. Upstairs there’s workspace used by local creatives including illustrator Nick Jobbings.
  • Go out and dance at Silver Bullet, just by the station, with DJs Stevey Porter & Kieran Wilson. Or listen to Dan Spanner from the Spanner Big Band in residency on Wednesdays when Arsenal isn’t playing at the Gunners.
  • Stunning singer Hanisha Solomon can often be found in the Ethiopian cafes on Blackstock Road.
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